Sutherland Newsletter – June 19, 2008

Private Conversation on Gay Rights Made Public

While court orders have given same-sex couples the opportunity to legally marry in California, and while debates about “protecting families” rage across the country, the Sutherland Institute has published a previously private dialogue on issues related to gay rights. Out of the Closet: A Candid, Behind-the-Scenes Dialogue on Gay Rights, a detailed e-mail correspondence between Sutherland President Paul T. Mero and attorney (and former legal director of the ACLU of Utah) Stephen C. Clark, fills a void in this contentious debate with candor and civility.



“I am pleased to be a part of this effort to shed further light on these important issues. I am confident that if policy makers would take the time to search these arguments they would find pearls of wisdom to guide them,” shared the dialogue’s co-correspondent Clark.


The three-part dialogue originally took place through e-mails from approximately August 2003 to September 2004 – largely triggered by the debate over Utah’s Amendment 3. It covers a wide range of issues from same-sex marriage to hate crime legislation to the future of gay rights, and includes very candid expressions of emotion, argumentation, and deeply-held personal feelings.


“Stephen has been magnanimous through this process. It isn’t easy to put yourself out there on such sensitive issues, and that goes for both of us. We have purposefully kept edits to a minimum to maintain its authenticity, while also striving to maintain a modicum of courtesy to one another,” Mero explained.


The 59-page discussion is divided into three parts. Part I includes discussions about civil unions, sexual orientation, personal motives, and hate crime laws. Part II addresses gay identity and integration, and scientific and empirical evidences challenging and supporting homosexuality.Part III deals with religion, civil rights, the courts, and third-party opinions.